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Bethan Huws :
Installation For Grafenegg Schlosspark

Grafenegg, 2008
Schlosspark, Grafenegg 10, 3485 Grafenegg


The Welsh artist Bethan Huws has erected three bronze coat-stands in an area of forest, they are covered with a patina in different wood colours. The title of the work, Perroquets (Parrots), is a reference to Marcel Duchamp and his ready-mades.

The Welsh artist Bethan Huws has positioned three coat stands in a piece of woodland close to Lindenallee. Viennese coffee houses would be unimaginable without these Thonet bentwood Coat Stands. The artist — who also writes, and has a Welsh-English-French background — alludes, however, to French bistros with her title Perroquets, and to her secret French hero and idol as an artist Marcel Duchamp, the co-founder of conceptual art and a proponent of Dadaism and Surrealism. The porte-manteaux that Bethan Huws mixes among the shrubs present a surreal sight. They remind one of the treetops with their uninviting hooks. Huws had the originals taken from the crafts and design context and cast in bronze, and then had them covered with a patina of various wood hues to look like the original models. Bethan Huws alludes to Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades, which revolutionised the art world in 1913: everyday objects selected by the artist without employing any criteria of taste, like the Bottle Rack, an industrially produced mass product, an object of no value that was only lent its significance by the artistic gesture. Huws poses basic questions about the content and significance of art with the Grafenegg coat stands. With her individualistic freestyle she brings subtle wit to the heroic landscaped parkland, and stage-manages the direction of the walkers' and tourists' gaze with metaphors of sociability and social functions with instants of views that subversively interrupt the viewer's gaze, which has become passive.
(Brigitte Huck)